Lions compound Sunwolves’ woe with 37-24 win in Singapore

Rahboni Warren Vosayaco of the Sunwolves in action
Rahboni Warren Vosayaco of the Sunwolves in action
Image: REUTERS/Feline Lim

The Lions heaped more misery on the Sunwolves with a comfortable 37-24 victory at Singapore’s National Stadium on Saturday, a day after it was announced the Japanese side would be cut from Super Rugby after the 2020 season.

Hooker Malcolm Marx scored a first-half brace as the Lions led 12-7 at the break, while Nic Groom, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe and Hacjivah Dayimani all crossed in the second half for the Johannesburg-based side.

Rahboni Warren Vosayaco managed to muster two second-half scores for the Sunwolves to add to an early penalty try, but the performance brought little optimism for rugby in Japan as the nation prepares to showcase its development in the sport as hosts of the World Cup.

Sunwolves were first off the mark, awarded a penalty try in the sixth minute after Lions’ winger Sylvian Mahuza slapped down a floated pass bound for a free man on the outside.

Their lead was short-lived, however. Less than 10 minutes later Lions’ hooker Marx crashed over from close range and his Springbok team mate Jantjies added the extras to level the scores at 7-7.

It was Marx again that put the Lions in front on 35 minutes, flopping over from the back of a driving lineout maul but this time Jantjies could not convert from out wide.

Sunwolves were first on the score sheet immediately after the break with a Hayden Parker penalty.

The Lions added to their try count on 50 minutes when scrumhalf Groom nipped around the side of a maul, sold a dummy and ghosted through the Sunwolves’ defence unopposed.

Jantjies missed the conversion. But soon after he grabbed a try of his own and, even though he missed the extras again, the game was starting to slip away from the tiring Sunwolves.

Lions centre Mapoe got on the end of some slick handling after a clean line-break in the middle of the park for his side’s fifth try as the game entered the final quarter.

The Sunwolves showed some spirit and a try under the posts from Vosayaco kept their chances alive at 17-29.

Jantjies steadied the ship for the Lions with a penalty, before replacement Dayimani collected a neat chip to take the game out of sight with less than five minutes to play.

Vosayaco’s late try was scant consolation for a team facing a multitude of problems on and off the park.

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